The Samarkand Welcomes New Healthcare Administrator

Janice Connelly_The Samarkand HC AdminstratorContact: Wendy D’Alessandro

 SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Janice Connelly has been named healthcare administrator at The Samarkand, a faith-based, non-profit continuing care retirement community operated by Covenant Retirement Communities. She will report to Executive Director Ruth Grande.

Connelly will direct and coordinate the daily operations at the senior living community’s 63-bed skilled nursing center. She directs a staff of 103.

Connelly has worked in the senior living industry for nearly 20 years. She came to The Samarkand after an award-winning tenure as executive director at Villa Maria Healthcare Center, Santa Maria, Calif. She also served as executive director at Arbor View Retirement Community, Santa Maria, and as administrator at Mission Gardens Skilled Care, Lompoc, Calif.

Ms. Connelly earned a Bachelor of Science degree in healthcare administration from California State University of Long Beach and attended Western State University of Law, Irvine, Calif.

For more information on The Samarkand, visit For information on Covenant Retirement Communities, visit

Covenant Village of Turlock Maintains Highest Rating from U.S. News & World Report

Contact: Wendy D’Alessandro

TURLOCK, Calif. – Covenant Village Care Center, the skilled nursing center at Covenant Village of Turlock, received five stars, the highest possible overall rating, in U.S. News & World Report’s seventh annual Best Nursing Homes.

Out of almost 16,000 nursing centers covered nationwide, the ratings highlight the top providers in each city and state. The goal is to help users find a skilled nursing center with a strong track record of good care. In California, about 32 percent of all nursing homes received an overall five-star rating from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“Maintaining our five-star rating and three zero deficiency-free surveys reflects our staff’s continued commitment to providing quality skilled nursing care in a safe, compassionate environment,” said Darla Lorenzen, health care administrator at Covenant Village of Turlock. “We are proud we continue to be a trusted source of skilled care for our campus and the Central Valley community and I am honored to work with such a great team.”

Best Nursing Homes draws on CMS data in three categories – health inspections, level of nurse staffing, and quality of care – and gives each an overall rating. U.S. News awarded the “Best Nursing Home” designation to nursing centers that earned an overall rating of five stars from CMS in January 2015.

In the new ratings, the share of nursing homes with an overall rating of five stars decreased to 21.7 percent, down from 24.9 percent last year. The decrease is the result of recent changes implemented by CMS to bolster the federal rating system.

“Finding the right place for an elderly loved one is a challenge millions of Americans face each year,” said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News. “We hope our Best Nursing Homes ratings, advice and tools help them navigate this important decision.”

The report is available exclusively online at

Learn more about Covenant Village of Turlock


Terri Cunliffe Named CEO of Covenant Retirement Communities, Inc.

cunliffeContact: Wendy D’Alessandro

Covenant Retirement Communities (CRC) recently named Terri Cunliffe as its chief executive officer, effective June 1, 2015. Ms. Cunliffe, who has served as CRC’s COO since 2010 and has been part of the organization for more than 25 years, succeeds current CEO Rick Fisk.
Beginning her career as a nursing home part-time receptionist, she has held a series of progressive leadership roles within CRC, including nursing home administrator and executive director at Covenant Village of Florida.
Ms. Cunliffe earned a Bachelor of Science degree in long-term care administration from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn. and a master’s degree in health services administration from Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Read the full press release here

The Samarkand Appoints Jessica Briceño Dining Services Director

Ruth Grande,
Wendy D’Alessandro,

bricenoThe Samarkand in Santa Barbara recently appointed Jessica Briceño as their new Dining Services Director. In her new role, Briceño will oversee all food and beverage operations at the community. She will also manage the Samarkand’s catering.

Briceño has a long history in the hospitality industry, working in the field for more than a decade. She previously served as the food and beverage manager at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, where she was recognized as Manager of the Year. She also worked for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts at several locations, including Venezuela, Texas and Hawaii, and was general manager of Pangea Bistro in West Palm Beach, Fla.

She is a graduate of Nueva Esparta University in Caracas, Venezuela, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in business administration in the tourism industry.

To learn more about The Samarkand, visit For information on Covenant Retirement Communities, visit

The Meadows of Napa Valley Announces Plans for $67 Million Expansion of its Continuing Care Retirement Community

Contact: Amy Jones & Gabrielle Wallace, Forté Group, Inc.

Expansion-RenderingThe Meadows of Napa Valley, a nonprofit resident-centered retirement community, is excited to announce plans for innovative renovations and a major expansion. The estimated $67 million project will add an additional 242,000 square feet of amenities and independent living apartments. The main aspects of the expansion will include 92 new apartments and underground parking, a state-of-the-art wellness and aquatic center and fully renovated dining venues. The stunning 900 square foot to 2,400 square foot apartments will be some of the most spacious offered at a retirement community in the Bay Area. The community will continue to provide a full range of health care services for an onsite continuum of care including assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. Construction is expected to begin in spring of next year and will take an estimated 18 months to build.

Wellness and Aquatic Center Rendering“We are very excited about the extensive renovations and the expansion that will take place in our community,” said Wayne Panchesson, executive director of The Meadows of Napa Valley. “A lot of thought and strategic planning have gone into the various aspects of the project to ensure that we further enrich the lives of our residents. With the addition of our top-notch wellness center, spacious apartments and superb dining venues, we will provide even more opportunities for active retirees to be fulfilled during retirement and into their later years. We are thrilled to answer questions from people who live in the area, and we are currently creating a priority list of interested individuals who want to learn more. We can’t wait until our vision becomes a reality.”

Realizing the trend that people want more space in retirement than in the past, the project will include large and breathtaking apartments that all have nine-foot ceilings, large windows, and private balconies. Additionally, to encourage individuals to stay active and healthy as they age, the wellness and aquatic center will span over 6,000 square feet and allow for a full-size lap pool, a spa pool and an aerobics pool. The renovated dining venues will include a brand new experience with formal dining as well as a more casual bistro setting.

Dining_Rendering“We already do a lot to make life pleasurable for those who live here,” said Panchesson. “This is about taking it to the next level and continually evaluating how we can help seniors enjoy the life they want to live when they retire here in picturesque Napa Valley.”

To learn more about The Meadows of Napa Valley, visit 

CCH Celebrates Grand Re-Opening of Westlake Christian Terrace East

Westlake_East_croppedContact: Iris Murillo

On Tuesday, May 12, CCH will be celebrating the grand re-opening of Westlake Christian Terrace East, a recently renovated 200-unit complex offering affordable housing for low-income seniors. Festivities will occur between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm as part of an Affordable Housing Week celebration sponsored by East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO).

Built in 1968 by CCH, Westlake Christian Terrace East is among the oldest affordable housing communities in Oakland serving low income seniors.  With a diverse population of residents that reflect the local community, Westlake is the flagship facility for CCH and a major hub of senior housing and services.  In the past two years, all 200 apartments were upgraded with new bathrooms and kitchens.  The $58 million project includes building improvements to seismic strength, energy efficiency and accessibility, and construction of 23 additional parking spaces, a computer center and new outdoor seating area.

CCH CEO and President Don Stump states, “We are truly grateful for the support received from the City of Oakland, our valued partners and investors.  The project serves as an example of what is possible when invested parties collaborate to serve the greater good.  Together, we have ensured that this community will continue to serve as affordable housing for the seniors of this City for the next 50 years. ”

Visit for more information.

Covenant Village of Turlock Veterans Take to the Skies in WWII-era Biplane

Contact: Wendy D’Alessandro
BlueSpire Senior Living
(561) 251-3151

covenant-villageTen senior veterans from Covenant Village of Turlock, ages 83-94, took to the Turlock skies this April in a 1942 Boeing Stearman biplane at Turlock Municipal Airport. The flights were courtesy of Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Darryl Fisher to honor U.S. military veterans living in senior communities. “We have quite a few veterans at our community and we thought what a better way to honor members of the Greatest Generation than with a ‘Dream Flight,’” said Adele Barnard, resident service director of the senior living community. Residents strapped on a leather helmet, goggles and headset and then with Fisher took off on a 20-minute flight. Pictured, left to right: Dick Laughlin, 91, Lieutenant Junior Grade, U.S. Navy, World War II; Casey Dennis, ground crew pilot-in-training; and founder and pilot Darryl Fisher get ready for takeoff.

Learn more about Covenant Village of Turlock: